Steel frames are undoubtedly the strongest. A steel mountain bike is a great option since it is sturdy and durable. Also, it is a good option for riders who tend to fall. So, we’ve listed for you if you are in the market for the best steel mtb.
- Part 1: Is Steel Mountain Bike Worth It
- Part 2: Guide to Choosing Mountain Bike Frame
- Part 3: Best Steel Mountain Bike Products
- Part 4: Are The Bikes Worth It For Me To Buy
- Part 5: Summary
Part 1: Is Steel Mountain Bike Worth It
Steel mountain bikes provide some advantages that you should be aware of.
Steel frames are simple to repair
Regardless of the material, your bike frame will ultimately collapse after years or decades of usage. Any welder can fix a steel frame. This function is vital for bike travellers visiting a remote place. You can always find someone who can weld steel no matter where you are, even in the poorest communities. Indeed, the weld and the frame may not be perfect, but they will get you back on the road. Welding an aluminium frame is difficult to find even in an industrialized place.
Steel frames may be more comfortable for certain people than other materials.
Vertical compliance or flex is a feature of a comfortable bike. Moreover, vibrations and shocks from the road are absorbed by this flex. Therefore, it can improve the ride’s sturdiness and ease. You won’t be as startled if you go over a speed bump or come over a pothole. Because the frame dampens some of the vibrations, riding over a bumpy gravel road will be less taxing on your arms. Steel frames, which bend more than aluminium frames, are preferred by many riders.
Steel frames last longer
Unlike aluminium, steel has a longer life. As a result, the framework is more durable and won’t break as easily. Steel is the better choice since aluminium does not have a fatigue limit. The fatigue limit of a steel frame may be exceeded an unlimited number of times without causing the frame to fail. You can expect a well-made steel bike frame to last a lifetime if you look after it properly.
Part 2: Guide to Choosing Mountain Bike Frame
It’s a lot of work to find a new frame when you’re looking for one. You don’t want to make a mistake when choosing a new frame. You could say that picking a frame is almost like picking a whole bike and how the bike moves will depend on the frame. The frame will be the main part of your riding experience.
Here are some considerations to ponder when purchasing a bike frame.
The wheel size of your current wheels must be compatible with any new frame you purchase. Currently, three different wheel sizes are available. 26in, 27.5in, and 29in are the available lengths. You shouldn’t put wheels in a wheel size-d frame that they aren’t meant to go in, even if they are theoretically compatible (for example, 26″ wheels can go in a 27.5″ wheel size-d frame).
If your previous fork is a suspension fork, it’s crucial to match your new frame’s travel. That is, if you have a 140mm travel fork, you need a frame intended for it. However, there is some space for a manoeuvre. It’s often OK to run a fork with somewhat more travel than the frame is meant for, e.g. a 160mm fork in a 140mm frame. You should not run more than 20mm above the required quantity. It lifts the front end, shortens the reach, and lowers the head angle (not necessarily a good thing). Getting a frame built for a longer fork than your current fork is not recommended. A shorter fork on a frame makes the bike difficult to ride.
They break in different ways, but steel and aluminium frames both do the same thing when they break. A steel frame usually gives you a little warning before it breaks down in a big way. If it suddenly doesn’t work, it won’t split in two. Instead, steel bends or breaks more slowly. If you check your steel frame often and after a crash, you’ll know when the frame is about to break down. A crack in the frame can be fixed. On the other hand, Aluminium can break down in a big way. In this case, aluminium doesn’t bend. Instead, it cracks and breaks down. Your aluminium frame could break in two and throw you to the ground as you speed down a hill. Because this kind of frame failure is so rare, we have to say that it can happen.
You can install S&S couplers
S&S couplers might be a good idea if you plan to fly with your bike at some point. These let you break your bike frame into two parts so you can fit it into a bag that fits on aeroplanes (62 linear inches). The goal here is to avoid paying extra fees that many airlines charge for having too many extra bags. They can only be used on steel and some titanium bike frames. They can’t be used with aluminium frames.
Part 3: Best Steel Mountain Bike Products
Cotic RocketMAX Gen3 ($5533)
The slender steel tubes make this bike look clean, unique, and simple. Also, the company’s progressive geometry makes them want to go fast for a long time. Some riders like the previous version of the RocketMAX, But Cane Creek forks generate confusion in the minds of some riders while attempting to set up a bike. When things got rough, the RocketMAX wasn’t as comfortable as the best bikes in its class. However, some of these issues have been solved in the new Gen3 RocketMAX. The company now has fork and shock options from the suspension company RockShox.
Cotic RocketMAX Gen 3 Frame details
The RocketMAX 3 uses a Reynolds 853 steel front triangle, a custom-designed seat tube, and a 6066-T6 aluminium rear end. While the Gen2 RocketMAX has 150mm of rear-wheel travel, while the Gen3 RocketMAX has 160mm, making it Cotic’s longest travel 29er ever. But Cotic RocketMAX Gen3 hasn’t merely increased travel. It has also decreased the leverage ratio and the progression rate to provide a more composed and plusher suspension, which should help while pummelling through rocky terrain. Cotic says that connecting the cable to the rear derailleur inside improves the bike’s look and reduces annoying noise. An upper chain guide from OneUp Components is built into the RocketMAX. This helps keep the chain secure and gives you more peace of mind, especially if you plan to take the RocketMAX between the tapes. Also, If you don’t want to carry a pack and water on your back, there’s a bottle cage mount on the top tube.
Cotic RocketMAX Gen3 Ride Impressions
You can do many different things with the RocketMAX Gen3, from riding through thick mud and root-filled ruts on steep, natural forest tracks to riding on faster, more open hardpack trails at the bike park. Many riders use this bike to get a good sense of how the bike behaves on a wide range of trails, from slow-paced technical trails to high-speed, full-on rock-smashing downhill tracks. In terms of setting up, things were very simple. It didn’t take long to get the suspension set up and balanced. You will get two spacers already installed when you buy the Deluxe rear shock. However, use the shock’s low-speed compression adjustment. You can move the dial around to the more open of the three positions on the dial. Unfortunately, you can’t do this with the Deluxe Select+ shock because it doesn’t have this feature.
Starling Twist ($5935)
It looks like a mullet because it has a monster-truck 29′′ wheel in the front and a 27.5′′ wheel in the back. This is our version of the mullet: It also has 160mm of rear travel, mullet wheels, and space for tyres. Furthermore, the 29′′ front wheel is very stable when monster trucks are going through rough terrain. The 27.5′′ wheel will slash turns, whip through your tightest and most technical moves, and make sure that speed and fun go hand in hand.
Starling Twist frame details
In this case, there’s no complicated, hard to understand suspension magic going on at all. In this case, an Ohlins TTX 22mm coil shock gives the Twist 160mm of rear-wheel travel. The thin steel tubes make things look clean and simple, appealing to the eye. There are a lot of cool things to look at. Another thing that makes things look cool is the integrated seat clamp. Starling features a threaded bottom bracket and external cable routing (save for the dropper post cable). Starling also offers bespoke colour possibilities. However, keep in mind that this will increase the price. The Twist is also available as a frame for $1959 without a rear shock.
Pipedream The Full Moxie ($5363)
The bike has 160 mm of rear travel and is built around a 160–170 mm fork. The Twist has a shock mount that can be moved up to 10 mm, allowing for a 130–160 mm range of rear travel and 10 mm of bottom bracket height adjustment and 1.3° of head angle adjustment, depending on the length of the shock.
With a 200mm rear rotor, the frame has space for tyres up to 2.8″ wide. There are small starling cutouts on the gussets of the frame that look like they came from an industrial machine. The overall look of the frame is beautiful. A tight seat tube also made it hard to adjust the seat post.
For the $5363 and 15.9 kg, you get Ohlins RXF36 M.2 coil fork and an Ohlins TTX22M coil rear shock. The drivetrain comprises Shimano XT 11-speed gears and Middleburn cranks that look good with the bike’s thin steel tubes.
Furthermore, a CushCore insert is in the front and back of the bike’s 2.3-inch MAXXIS Minion DHF/High Roller II tyres. Also, the rims are made by Stan’s Flow. Stopping power comes from four-piston callipers on the front and two-piston callipers on the back, with 180/180 mm rotors in each. BikeYoke’s REVIVE 165 dropper post and FUNN bar and stem finish the build-off, making it ready to ride.
Part 4: Are The Bikes Worth It For Me To Buy
Is it worth it to buy a steel mountain bike? Honestly, you could get a lot of bikes for your money with aluminium or carbon. The prices range from $5,000 to $6,000, which means you could get a lot for your money. Such as the Nukeproof Mega 290, YT JEFFSY, or Canyon Strive have the best parts and are cheaper than steel bikes by a large amount. It isn’t clear if a steel bike is better for you. Not at all. You will get a lighter bike with better parts at the same price if you choose aluminium for your bike (and sometimes even carbon). However, what you do get is something special that is more durable, will last longer, doesn’t date as quickly, and shows that you think differently. In many cases, the frames are made to order, even if they can be made with a specific geometry.
Part 5: Summary
A welder can fix a steel frame no matter where you live. On the other hand, steel has a longer life and won’t break as easily. Even in an industrialized area, it’s hard to find someone who can weld an aluminium frame. Steel frames, which bend more than aluminium frames, are preferred by many riders because they are more stable.
Some considerations to ponder when purchasing a bike frame
The wheel size of your current wheels must be compatible with any new frame you purchase. Currently, three different wheel sizes are available: 26in, 27.5in, and 29in.
If you are upgrading from a suspension fork to a bike with longer travel, you need a frame intended for it. Getting a frame built for a longer fork than your current fork is not recommended. A shorter fork on a frame makes the bike difficult to ride.
A steel frame usually gives you a little warning before it breaks down. If it suddenly doesn’t work, it won’t split in two. Also, a crack in the frame can be fixed.
You can install S&S couplers
S&S couplers let you break your bike frame into two parts so you can fit it into a bag that fits on aeroplanes. The goal here is to avoid paying extra fees that many airlines charge for having too many extra bags. They can only be used on steel and some titanium bike frames.
Steel MTB Products
Cotic RocketMAX Gen 3
The Cotic RocketMAX Gen3 has 160mm of rear-wheel travel, making it the longest 29er ever. It also has decreased leverage ratio and progression rate to provide a more composed ride. There’s a bottle cage mount, so you don’t have to carry water on your back.
With 160mm of rear-wheel travel, the Starling Twist is a single-pivot bike. You can get package with an Ohlins TTX 22mm coil spring and external seat post routing. For $1959, you may get the bike’s frame without a rear shock.
Pipedream The Full Moxie
It has 160 mm rear travel and a 160–170 mm fork. Also, there is 10 mm of bottom bracket height adjustment and 1.3° head angle adjustment on the Twist, depending on shock length.